Group demands firing of Conn. CO over 'blatantly bigoted' meme
An official with the Department of Correction said they would review the case "to determine appropriate action"
By Pat Tomlinson
CHESHIRE, Conn. — Attorney General William Tong has directed staff to "look into" accusations that a Department of Corrections officer posted an offensive meme on his social media account.
Tong's announcement comes days after the Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations called for the termination of officer Anthony Marlak, a 12-year employee who has worked at Cheshire and Newtown's Garner correctional institutes, in a letter sent to Department of Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros on Friday.
CAIR-CT claims Marlak posted a meme on a Facebook account, under the pseudonym " Anthony David," depicting five men hanging from a rope by their necks with the caption "Islamic Wind Chimes" and a comment reading: "Think I found the best meme on the planet!"
"Officer Marlak's posting is blatantly bigoted and is actually a violation of the Department's social media policy because it undermines public confidence in the DOC's commitment to racial equality and religious tolerance," said Farhan Memon, chairman of CAIR-CT, in the letter.
Elizabeth Benton, director of communications for the Attorney General's Office, said CAIR-CT's accusations prompted their office to take closer look at the Department of Correction's handling of the incident.
A day earlier, the Department of Corrections said it would re-examine the case following their decision last year, after a Muslim colleague brought the meme to their attention, that Marlak's post did not warrant further investigation.
Karen Martucci, the department's director of external affairs, said Monday that the Department of Correction would review the case "to determine appropriate action."
"As a State Agency, the Department of Correction does not condone discrimination against — or hatred directed towards — individuals or groups based on their religion, race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex," Martucci said.
Marlak claimed the meme was "doctored," according to a Department of Correction report. However, the same report notes that Marlak "provided no evidence" to back up the claim.
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